Mohamed bin Zayed and King Charles
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and His Majesty King Charles III attending the launch of COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum at Expo City Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The COP28 Presidency of the United Arab Emirates has launched the inaugural COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum, convening more than 1,000 CEOs and philanthropists from over 80 countries.

Hosted by the COP28 Presidency and the Sustainable Markets Initiative, the Forum launched on Friday with a high-level reception in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and His Majesty King Charles III.

This is the first time that the Forum has been launched at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP), The Forum is being held alongside the World Climate Action Summit.

Moving beyond commitments

The Forum represents a paradigm shift in the COP process. With its strengths in low-carbon solutions and innovation, delivery and global networks, the private sector has — and continues — to invest trillions of dollars into the transition. With the objective of moving beyond commitments, the COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum will showcase global industry-by-industry delivery together with opportunities to accelerate, replicate, and scale, particularly in the Global South.

Private sector actors will join heads of state and government to focus on showcasing private sector progress and joint delivery.

Dr Sultan Al Jabar, COP28 President, said: “For the first time at a UNFCCC COP, and in line with the vision of the UAE, the global private sector has a seat at the table on the first day of COP28. No single party has all the solutions, and COP28 must bridge the trust gap between North and South, East, and West, and build a platform for action through partnership. This is what the Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum represents.”

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No time to wate

Badr Jafar, Chair of the Forum and COP28 Special Representative for Business and Philanthropy, said: “There is no time to waste, and no need to wait. The Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum showcases over 20 major actions that CEOs and philanthropists can take now demonstrating accessible ways for private sector leaders to move beyond pledges and declarations and into action and implementation in ways that are suited to their capabilities and competencies.”

Jennifer Jordan-Saifi, CEO of the Sustainable Markets Initiative, said: “The COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum’s purpose statement amplifies calls from the private sector to be at the table for all future UNFCCC COPs. It is time for a whole new model — one focused on real-world delivery and accelerated results.”

The Sustainable Markets Initiative is the Strategic Partner for the inaugural Forum. Other Forum delivery partners include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Economic Forum (WEF), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Africa Finance Corporation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB Invest), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and XPRIZE.

The UN Council for Trade and Development estimated that $4 trillion is required annually to meet climate and biodiversity targets.

Forum targets and objectives

Enhance alignment of industry, finance and country roadmaps

Conduct an annual industry-by-industry assessment on progress

Raise the bar on ambitions, including alignment with science-based targets

Engaging in private sector diplomacy and the creation of innovative private sector mechanisms to support cross-border transition efforts

Demonstrate the moral courage required as decision-makers to boldly lead the transition to a sustainable

Adopt an authentic sustainable orientation, embedding sustainability in business models, decisions, and actions

Invest in sustainability-aligned research, development, commercialisation, technology, and innovation alongside youth and supporting the green, sustainably focused jobs of the future

Showcase game-changing entrepreneurs, technologies and solutions that are emerging around the world

Build conservation and nature-based solutions into the asset base, supply chains, and disclosures

Address market challenges and help reorient economic subsidies, financial incentives, and regulations in support of global climate, biodiversity, and UN SDG targets across all industries.

Adopt common standards, metrics, working definitions and traceability within, and wherever possible, across industries